Never knowingly undersolved.

Enigmatic Variations No. 887 – Generic by Syd Lexis

Posted by Gaufrid on November 14th, 2009


I made good progress during the first session, solving most of the clues fairly quickly but was held up for a while at the end by 16a and, particularly, 51a. With these resolved all that remained was the unclued thematic entries. There were a few where there was only one possible answer (eg 42a, 54a, 1d & 38d) but the majority had several options.

I made a list of the unclued words, known and possibles, and pondered over it for about half an hour but there did not seem to be any obvious pairings as required by the preamble. Since I was getting nowhere I decided to have a break and come back to the puzzle the following day.

Next morning I returned to the list and within a few minutes realised that there was a degree of commonality amongst the checked letters in the various words which led me to think of ‘enigma’ then ‘enigmatic’. Bingo! The GENERIC title to this puzzle is ENIGMATIC VARIATIONS and the unclued entries could be paired to give anagrams of ‘enigmatic’ as follows:

21a/53a MAGIC TINE
54a/55a MATING ICE
39d/45d GIANT MICE

With hindsight, the preamble was quite clear as to what needed to be done to determine the unclued entries and with CINEMA, MATING, ICING and IGNITE as definite answers the penny should have dropped sooner than it did. Overall a good and enjoyable challenge with a few head-scratching moments and the occasional ah! along the way.

*(XXX) – anagram
[xxx] – letter(s) dropped or unused
# – unclued

1 CAM #
8 MEAT #
11 IVAN I (in) VAN (the front)
13 OPENING O (nothing) P (positive) IN in ENG (engraver)
14 IDEATED I (one) E (drug) in DATED (old-fashioned)
16 CANN CANN[a bis] (adult twice taken off drug) – a variant of ‘con’
17 ERR [f]ERR[y] (passenger boat endless)
18 RIME dd
19 TEABAG TEA (char) BAG (quantity of drugs)
21 MAGIC #
23 BREAD B[anker] READ (study)
25 ACCLAIM A (advanced) C ($100) CLAIM (call)
28 REFT REF[und] (half of what’s repaid) T[rust]
29 LINER N (number) in LIE (false statement) R (take)
30 TIG #
32 AUGUR AU (gold) GUR (Mongolian tent)
33 COPE COPE[r] (horse trader loses right)
37 CEMBALI BA (soul) in *([du]LCIME[rs])
40 THEGN G (good) in THEN (immediately) – a variant of ‘thane’
42 ICING #
44 ISOMER I (iodine) SOME (in Houston very much) R (runs)
46 LEAL LE[th]AL (deadly lacking the)
47 GEN GEN[e] (embarrassment in French without E for Spain)
48 ASTI AS (when) T (to) I[mbibe]
49 INITIAL IN I (one) in ITAL[y]
51 TOCSINS TOC[her] (she left dowry in Perth) SIN (pity) S (sons)
52 NEST S (Saint) in NET (capture)
53 TINE #
55 ICE #

2 MAIR A (one) in MIR (Muslim commander)
3 INDRI INDR[a] (Hindu god loses adult) I (island)
4 NAE NA[m]E (celebrity has lost money)
5 APTER A P[a]TER (father wants one)
6 TEETER T (the Northern) EETER homophone of ‘eater’ (diner)
7 ENDEAR END (close) EAR (attention)
8 MICA #
9 ENABLE E (European) NAB (arrest) LE (the, in French)
10 TINGE #
12 VORACIOUS VOR (warn Shakespearean) A (one) C (about) IOUS (evidence of debts)
15 AMBIT A MB (doctor) IT (sex appeal)
22 CAR CAR[go] (no success with load)
24 DRUB D[rummer] RUB (irritate)
26 LEET LEE (Scots form of ‘lie’) T (to)
27 MIC #
31 GENET dd
32 AMI AMI[r] (runs away from prince)
34 PROTON PRO (for) TON (people of fashion)
35 THEISM THEMIS (Greek goddess) with M (master) moved to the end
36 HERNIA HER (girl’s) *([p]AIN)
39 GIANT #
41 GLINT LIN (waterfall) in GT (great)
43 CLANG dd
45 MICE #
47 GLEI LE (the, in French) in GI (soldier)
50 INN INN[ovate] (make changes scraping Welsh graduate)

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